Mixed martial artist Grant Blackler.
Mixed martial artist Grant Blackler. Warren Lynam

MMA fighter gets a TV gig

YOUNG Caloundra fighter Grant Blackler hopes to parlay the "chance of a lifetime" into a life-altering career.

It was revealed yesterday that "Bull Ant" Blackler had secured a prized spot in a new TV instalment of the popular Ultimate Fighter.

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK - The Smashes" is a 13-episode Australian-produced show that will screen on FX from September 19.

In keeping with the globally popular concept's format, a group of promising fighters lived together in a house and trained and competed against one another for a prized Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.

The three-hour finale will screen in December.

Blackler, one of four Australian lightweights (70kg) on the show, was understandably tight-lipped yesterday about his performance.

However, he hopes the exposure will help him achieve his goal of training with the world's best squads and fighting in the US-based UFC.

The 23-year-old - who earned his spot on the show through a trial in Sydney in June - described the six-week experience as a sharp learning curve that would stand him in good stead in the future.

"It was a big thing. It was great," he said.

"It was definitely the biggest experience (of my career to date). I fought a lot more experienced guys than myself.

"It's definitely been a surprise how far I've made it.

"It comes from the training I've been getting and hard work and dedication, I guess."

Blackler is trained by Ryan Dunstan at Ignite MMA at Caloundra.

Blackler amassed an 8-0 record as a featherweight, meaning he fought up a weight division for the show. Six of those victories came via TKO or submission.

He describes himself as a wrestler who likes to wear down opponents and then ground and pound them.

He juggles his gruelling training sessions with his work as a plumber, but desires to become a fulltime fighter.

"Given the right circumstances and the right training, it's (becoming a professional fighter) definitely the path I'd take," he said.

Another Ignite MMA featherweight, Callum Lewis, unsuccessfully trialled for the show.

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